Haverford College Special Collections includes the world-renowned Quaker Collection, college archives, rare books and manuscripts, and fine art. Of these, the Quaker Collection makes up about 75-80% of our holdings and is the primary focus of attention of the thousands of visitors and inquiries we receive each year.
The Quaker Collection consists of some 35,000 printed volumes and 2,400 linear feet of manuscripts, as well as numerous photographs, artworks, artifacts, furniture, films, videos, sound recordings, and digital files, including both analog-to-digital and born-digital materials.
The intellectual content of the collection spans the history of Quakerism from 17th-century Britain to the present day in many parts of the world, with emphasis on Quakerism as lived and practiced in the eastern United States and antecedent American colonies.
Among our non-Quaker materials are the college archives, rare books and manuscripts, and fine art. The college archives consist of published and unpublished documents, graphics, photography, artifacts, and audiovisual materials that document the history and operations of Haverford College from its founding in 1833 to present.
Non-Quaker rare books cover all fields of knowledge with particular strengths in literature, natural history, science, and American history.
Non-Quaker manuscripts include such collections as the Charles Roberts Autograph Letter Collection which is comprised of some 20,000 letters from a wide variety of authors, and the J. Rendel Harris "Oriental" Manuscript Collection of some 72 13th- through 19th-century Hebrew, Latin, Arabic, Syriac, Armenian and Ethiopic scrolls and codices.
Finally, we maintain the college’s collection of art including 5,000 fine art photographs ranging the history of the genre, hundreds of prints by European, American and Asian artists, numerous oil paintings, sculpture, and Ancient Greek, Middle Eastern, and African artifacts.